Maldives president lifts 45-day state of emergency

The Maldives has lifted a 45-day state of emergency imposed by President Abdulla Yameen to annul a Supreme Court ruling that had overturned criminal convictions against nine opposition leaders.

In a statement on Thursday, the president’s office said Yameen lifted the emergency “in an effort to promote normalcy” despite there still existing a “diminished threat to national security”.

Under the emergency, security forces arrestedformer President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Yameen’s half-brother, as well as two Supreme Court judges and a top judicial administrator on charges of trying to topple the government.

All four were charged with terrorism on Wednesday.

A court in the capital, Male, ordered they be held until the end of their trials.

Those arrested included opposition parliamentarians, journalists and a former police chief.

Some 141 were arrested on Friday alone when thousands of opposition supporters defied the emergency and staged a protest in the Maldives’ congested capital. Most have since been released.

The opposition accuse Yameen, who assumed power in 2013 following a disputed election, of abuses of power and siphoning millions of dollars from state coffers, allegations he has denied.

 

 

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